"A Man Has Dreams" is a song from Mary Poppins. It was written by the Sherman Brothers: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, respectively. It is comprised of two basic musical themes, previously heard, earlier in the film, "The Life I Lead" and "A Spoonful of Sugar". This introspective song is unconventional in its structure in that it takes the form of operatic recitative rather than of a traditional song reprise. The almost dueling nature of the two song (comprised into one) are more like dueling leitmotifs. The first line of the song, "A Man Has Dreams of walking with giants, To carve his niche in the edifice of time...." is from where the trolley tour entitled Walking With Giants gets its name.
George Banks: (speaking) A man has dreams of walking with giants
To carve his niche in the edifice of time
(singing) Before the mortar of his zeal
Has a chance to congeal
(speaking) The cup is dashed from his lips
The flame is snuffed aborning
He's brought to rack and ruin in his prime
Bert: (speaking) Life is a rum go guv'nor and that's the truth.
George Banks: (speaking) You know what I think? It's that woman, Mary Poppins.
From the moment she stepped into this house, things began to happen to me!
Bert: (speaking) Mary Poppins?
George Banks: (speaking) Yes! Yes, of course!
(singing) My world was calm, well ordered, exemplary
Then came this person, with chaos in her wake
And now my life's ambitions go with one fell blow
It's quite a bitter pill to take
(speaking) It's that Poppins woman! She did it!
Bert: (speaking) I know the very person you mean.
Mary Poppins, she's the one what sings
(singing) A spoonful of sugar that is all it takes
It changes bread and water into tea and cakes
George Banks: (speaking) See, that's exactly what I mean! Changing bread and water into tea and cakes indeed!
No wonder everything's higgledy-piggledy here.
Bert: (singing) A spoonful of sugar goes a long, long way
'Ave yourself a 'ealthy 'elpin' ev'ry day
(speaking) And a healthy bit of trouble if you ask me.
George Banks: (speaking) You know what she did? I realized it now. She tricked me into taking Jane and Michael to the bank. That's how all the trouble started!
Bert: (speaking) Tricked you into taking the children on an outing?
George Banks: (speaking) Yes!
Bert: (speaking) Outrageous! A man with all the important things you have to do. Shameful!
You're a man of 'igh position
Esteemed by your peers
(singing) And when your little tykes are cryin'
You 'aven't time to dry their tears
And see them grateful little faces
Smilin' up at you
Because their dad, 'e always knows
Just what to do
George Banks: (speaking) Well I mean look I, I don't think I...
Bert: (speaking) Like you say, guv'nor.
(singing) You've got to grind, grind, grind
At that grindstone
Though child'ood slips like sand through a sieve
And all too soon they've up and grown
And then they've flown
And it's too late for you to give
Just that spoonful of sugar
To 'elp the medicine go down
The medicine go down, the medicine go down.
(speaking) Well, goodbye, guv'nor. Sorry to have troubled you.
(exits the house whistling)